Mitt Romney claimed he was suspending his campaign today. Sorta. Kinda. Not really.
Actually, he was out schmoozing voters in Ohio under the guise of calling it a "disaster relief" event:
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney urged his supporters on Tuesday to keep up their efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and pitched in to box up donations.
"We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on in a major part of our country," he said at an appearance in Dayton, Ohio, touted by the campaign as a "storm relief" event. "A lot of people are hurting this morning and they were hurting last night."
He thanked the crowd for bringing goods, which he said will be sent to New Jersey.
"I appreciate the fact people right here in Dayton got up this morning, some went to the grocery store, I see, and purchased some things that these families will need," he continued. "I appreciate your generosity. It's part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people that are in need."
This warmed the cockles of the talkers' hearts at Fox News, of course, where no one doubted that Romney was not, repeat NOT campaigning. He was just helping box up some canned goods to help in the relief effort, and, heavens, if some photographers or some voters happened to be nearby, that was swell too. (Oh, and by the way, Obama was campaigning because Bill Clinton was out doing events in Minnesota, donchaknow.)
But had anyone at the Romney campaign bothered to ask the Red Cross, they would have been informed that collecting canned goods is exactly what they don't need. From the Red Cross website:
The American Red Cross does not accept or solicit small quantities of individual donations of items for emergency relief purposes. Items such as collections of food, used clothing, and shoes often must be cleaned, sorted, and repackaged which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel that are needed for other aspects of our relief operation.
The Red Cross, in partnership with other agencies, suggests that the best use for those types of donations is to support needy agencies within donors' local communities.
The best way to help a disaster victim is through a financial donation to the Red Cross. Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for the disaster relief operation. Monetary donations also enable the Red Cross to purchase relief supplies close to the disaster site which avoids delays and transportation costs in getting basic necessities to disaster victims. Because the affected area has generally experienced significant economic loss, purchasing relief supplies in or close to the disaster site also helps to stimulate the weakened local economy.
It “impedes” relief efforts, it doesn’t help. The Red Cross prefers money because it’s far easier to handle, and can be spent where it’s most needed and on what is most needed.
Afterwards, Romney refused to answer any questions about his previously documented proposal to eliminate FEMA:
"Gov are you going to eliminate FEMA?" a print pooler shouted, receiving no response.
Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored.
Romney kept coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions:
"Gov are you going to see some storm damage?"
"Gov has [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?"
"Gov you've been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?"
Oh, and here's how the press badges for the event read, via Dave Weigel:
I guess intermixing "Romney Victory" with "Disaster" is appropriate after all.